Social mediocrity

Jun 12, 2017

You might think a Facebook post about a stolen office stapler is cute, or that an Instagram photo of donuts in the breakroom is quaint. Think again.

In my last article, we covered some tips for using social media in the AEC industry. Here’s an expansion on that with some humorous examples of what not to do. I’m not making these examples up. Every single one of these is something I’ve personally seen an A/E firm do.

So please, don’t do any of the following:

  • Self-promote all the time. “What?” you might say. “Isn’t that what marketing is about? I thought Zweig Group preached that you shouldn’t be afraid to promote!” Promoting your firm and its services is great, but there’s a time and a place – social media is about sharing and interacting. Promote by sharing a cool project, a testimonial, or being a source of knowledge on a problem, not just saying, “We’re the best at grading plans in the Northeast.” If you use any social media platform to entirely promote yourself explicitly, you will never have enough followers to actually sell something. Everyone will unfollow you because they’ll get tired of hearing the same story.
  • Only post birthdays, holidays, new hires, and promotions. Just as bad as only posting self-promoting announcements of projects/services is only posting these things. You will not draw people to your page with yet another headshot of a new hire, “John, a 49-year-old land surveyor from Lubbock.” Some fun is good, but you seriously had a party for chocolate covered raisin day (yes, it’s real and it’s on March 24th)? Do you ever get any work done?
  • See yourself only from an insider’s perspective. You may think it’s hilarious that Jeff stole John’s stapler AGAIN – but seriously, no one else does. Do not put half-eaten cakes, inside jokes, or bad low-quality images of your staff doing stupid things on the company social media page. Any kind of internal announcements (donuts in the break room anyone?) should be kept off public pages.
  • Use low-quality images, bad fonts, bad colors, or bad lighting. There are a lot of resources out there to help people learn how to use colors that complement each other, appropriate fonts, and other basic principles of graphic design. Cursive is generally bad. Comic Sans is always bad. Instagram, photo filters, and even the editing programs available on an iPhone can help “clean up” an image. Equally as important, don’t take bad pictures in the first place, things like the backs of peoples’ heads, a trash can in the middle of the photo, a toilet with the seat up, and generally unflattering pictures of your firm’s staff. Take the time to stage pictures if necessary.
  • Strange sentence structure and typos. It’s distracting. It makes your company look sloppy and unprofessional. Proofread your stuff.

There’s more on this topic, along with photos and examples, on the Zweig Group blog. Check it out here.

Christina Zweig Niehues is Zweig Group’s director of marketing. Contact her at

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.